Review Summary: 'Ethereal under produced lo-fi acoustic indie pop' is now a defined genre .
Firekites are another one of the exciting up and coming Australian bands, riding on the indie/pop/folk wave in their very own balanced and unique way. Mixing up sounds, instruments and ideas throughout the 10 tracks found on The Bowery
, there is a little bit of something for everyone.
The aesthetic tone and feel of any creative piece is often one of the key parts of a listener/viewers experience with, and response to that piece. A slightly blurred photograph taken with a holga camera can produce a picture that transcends reality, instantly transporting the viewer into a surreal state of experience. At the same time, the manner in which a song is recorded can have drastic effects on the impact of the final product.
The idea of musical aesthetics was obviously a driving force behind the production of these 10 tracks as the results will show. The Bowery was written and recorded in a unused dance hall/coffee house/bookstore called The Bowery. The results being a very natural and highly introspective display of musical prowess. The album plays quite intentionally as an under-produced work of lo-fi indie pop, this quality gives the music its distinct natural tone and allows for an intimate experience.
Each of the 10 works on this album sails with a natural beauty that speaks of true craftsmanship and a high attention to detail. The tone and timbre of each instrument plays a key role in the construction of each of the works and in turn colours the environment to which the listener will meet it in. Whether it be the smooth, flowing finger-picked acoustic guitar melodies, the haunting delayed violin or the delicate and rhythmic pulse of the brushes making contact with the drum skins, every note and beat is precise, crisp and natural, almost as if the band is sitting by your bedside, performing just for you.
'Worn Weary' proves to be one of the more emphatic showcases of the underlying talent in this band, its accented 6/4 beat drives the song and provides a framework to stop it from becoming a noisy wash of pretty sounds and subtle electronics. Drawing you in with a mix of sustained and staccato harmonics plucked on the guitar and the sweet and sultry voice of 'Jane Tyrrell' the song never lets up with its tale of possible frustration and fruitless endeavor.
'Mirror Miracle' and 'Another State' both introduce a juxtaposition to the overall direction of the record with a much darker brooding feel, these songs noticeably differ to the rest without ever feeling out of place. Drifting along with a much slower down-tempo feel, the tone of the bass guitar is much thicker and sustained and the sparse notes it produces allow space for all the thoughts and ideas to settle in. Both tracks feature a grainy distorted pad that sets the backdrop for their moments of melancholic musing.
All 3 of these songs stand as contrasting pieces that span the spectrum of creativity and emotion present throughout the album. Interspersed within are 3 instrumental pieces providing some of the jazzier moments on this record. Each of these songs bridges a moment in time between the preceding and following tracks, with 'New Year Has Spoken' providing a calm conclusion to the record.
'Jane Tyrrell' and 'Tim Mcphee' periodically exchange vocal duties and both manage to provide stellar vocal performances throughout the album. For the most part, they each sing on their own , and occasionally harmonise in unison at various passages in the songs, Tim's wispy longing voice working with the haunting tone of Jane's resounding voice prove to be an invaluable focus and direction for each of the songs.
Whether you enjoy acoustic folk, dreamy indie, or pop, Firekites have written an album that caters to all types of audiences, providing a soulful palette of sounds and images, I can safely say they have produced an album that needs no introduction and no doubt will make itself right at home in your mind.